The English Soccer Streak That Is ‘Just Statistically Ridiculous’

Ryan Morgan, who runs the team’s social media accounts, said he has had the tweets for when the penalty finally arrives written and saved for months, with a few different possibilities, depending on the game situation.

The team’s fans have been mostly lighthearted about the phenomenon, he said, but they are “very, very aware of it.”

Paul Binning, a 45-year-old fan in Cardiff, said Bristol City fans already had plenty of reasons to feel aggrieved. A four-decade absence from the top tier of English soccer will do that: Being a Bristol City supporter, Binning admitted, requires a certain sense of gallows humor.

“There’s an element of feeling that these things go against us, and these things just don’t happen to us for whatever reason,” he said.

About 130 miles north of Bristol in Stoke-on-Trent, there’s a fan base that understands the feeling.

Mark Porter, the chairman of the Port Vale Supporters Club, was in the stands on Oct. 8, 2022, when his seemingly cursed team ended its 73-game streak with not one, but two penalty kicks. Even though the team was successful during its penalty kick drought, earning a promotion to League One, “the longer it goes on, the worse it becomes,” he said.

When the referee whistled for a penalty to end the streak, “the fans were overjoyed,” he said. But, deep down, everyone knew what was coming: The penalty kick sailed wide.

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